Hawaii Trip, Day 6: Makapu’u Lighthouse/Dragon’s Nostrils Hike, Bellows AFS

Our first stop of the day was the Makapu’u Lighthouse hike, which is at the island’s most eastern point. The hike itself follows a paved road that leads from the highway to the lighthouse. Parking was at the beginning of the road right off the highway. The basic hike itself is very easy, simply follow the mile or two of paved road to the lighthouse and enjoy the view. However, the true adventure of the hike is for the more adventurous. A little more than halfway up the road to the lighthouse, there is a lookout with a sign talking about humpback whales and a small trail that leads down to the ocean and the “Dragon’s Nostrils” – an outcrop of rock that is covered in tidepools with two large holes in the middle that roar and shoot water spray as the waves come in below the rocks. You will likely see people swimming the tidepools, just be careful and watch out for urchins! There is quite a scramble from the trail to the bottom, but it was worth it. This hike is a great opportunity to watch for humpback whales in the winter months.

On they way home, we stopped at Bellows Air Force Station to hang out at that beach. Bellows is a military station just north of Waimanalo on the eastern coast of Oahu, which acts as a vacation destination for military families. Since Daniel’s dad has a military ID, he was able to get us onto the base to check out their beaches. Being right on Waimanalo Bay, the beach was very nice (if not as nice as Kailua!). We bodysurfed for a bit – and I was definitley the best at it in our group! Even though the waves were pretty small, I would consistently ride a wave all the way into shore, leaving everyone else behind. Fun times.

Hawaii Trip, Day 5: Surfing, Pali Highway, and Ko Olina Snorkeling

The next morning, we went surfing with one of Daniel’s little brothers’ teachers, who lived right on the beach in Kailua. No super waves, but there was good body surfing to be had, and it was just so beautiful and we hadn’t gotten de-sensitized yet. After lunch (at Burger King, where the trash cans say “MAHALO” instead of “THANK YOU” – awesome), we went on another hike. Noticing a trend here? This time we hiked along the old Pali Highway, which hugs the East side of the mountains that run through the center of the island. More great views here, and a lot more jungle scenery than the pillbox hike. At one point we had to climb down a rope to go under the current Pali Highway, which was interesting. The hike starts at the aptly-named Pali Highway lookout, and ends at a golf course at the base of the mountains. It is hard to imagine cars, and especially large trucks sharing this tiny road! The road is only two lanes, and barely even that – with rock faces on one side and dizzying dropoffs on the other, no wonder they built a new highway to replace this one!

In the evening, we drove over to Ko Olina to go snorkeling. Ko Olina is a big resort on the south west corner of the island, but since all beaches in Hawaii are public, you can get into the resort and use their beached for free. Also, they have a big Luau at the resort, and bus people in from Honolulu for it and everything (big $$). However, the luau takes place right by the beach. So, you can stand on the public beach and watch the luau for free. No buffet, but whatever! We didn’t stick around for the luau, though, as we wanted to get some snorkeling in before dark. While we were out, we saw a number of sea turtles, which was cool – I had never seen them in the water before. We would go turtle watching sometimes home in Melbourne when they come ashore to lay their eggs (always being careful not to keep them from laying those eggs), but it was good to see them in the water. Unfortunately, there was some sort of film all over the coral, and it was overcast, so it wasn’t spectacular snorkeling.

Hawaii Trip, Day 4: Kaena Point Hike

Continuing with the hiking trend, this day was spent hiking Oahu’s westernmost point. We left Daniel’s house early, caravaning up the East coast, along the North Shore, and to the West side of the island. That drive was spectacular – it was so picturesque, with gorgeous beaches every 5 feet, and the awesome mountains everywhere. The highway that follows the coast all the way around the island ends before Kaena point, becoming a dirt path that you really don’t want to drive on unless you have four wheel drive and a lot of ground clearance. Continue reading Hawaii Trip, Day 4: Kaena Point Hike

Hawaii Trip, Day 3: Honolulu Part 1, Diamond Head

The next morning, we all crowded into Daniel’s parents’ van (from now on referred to as the hula bus), and drove over to Honolulu for the morning. We walked around a little downtown, and checked out Waikiki. Even at 9 in the morning, it was already really crowded, and honestly, the beach was not nearly as nice as Kailua beach. The highlight of the morning was lobster man – some guy sunbathing that had the worst sunburn we had ever seen. It was really really bad. After an hour or two, we drove over to Diamond Head, where we hiked up to the top. Diamond Head is the most popular hike on the island, and it is easy to see why – it is very close to Honolulu, you get a really good view of Honolulu and the West side of the island, and there is a lot of remnant WWII construction you get to scramble through. At the peak of Diamond Head, you actually climb through an old lookout installation, climbing steep stairs and crouching in concrete tunnels burrowed in the mountainside. To reach the absolute top, you actually crawl through the front of a pillbox and out onto its roof. And the views of downtown Honolulu and Waikiki beach are unmatched. This was a fun hike, and if you have little kids, the scramble through the pillbox at the end would likely be their favorite – but as the most popular hike on the island, it was very crowded, and very hot. Since you are on the “dry” side of the island and also in a volcanic crater, there is little in the way of foliage to shiel you from the powerful tropic sun. Bring water and a hat for this one.

We drove back home through Hawaii Kai, and along the East shore of the island. Once home, we enjoyed spending the rest of the day on the beach. Quite relaxing, if I do say so myself.

Hawaii Trip, Days 1-2: First Impressions, Maunawili Falls, and Pillbox Hike (Ka’iwa Ridge)

A quick introduction – 5 of my best friends from college and I took a 10 day trip to Hawaii in May of 2008, after we all graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators!). We viewed this as our last hurrah before we all starting going our separate ways. We had all met as freshmen living on the same floor in the dorms, and had stuck together since then, as roommates and great friends. Traveling with me (your humble narrator for this journey) were Daniel (“Neubs”), Danny, Chen, Sal, and Dave. We were staying with Daniel’s family, who had moved out to Hawaii from Tampa a few years earlier.

I don’t know if we could have possibly had a better first day in Hawaii. A secluded waterfall (complete with jumping platform) and the best view on the island, all in one day? Yeah, I will take that – with an extra helping of awesome, please. Continue reading Hawaii Trip, Days 1-2: First Impressions, Maunawili Falls, and Pillbox Hike (Ka’iwa Ridge)

On The Appropriateness of Internet Content

In today’s Alligator (the UF newspaper), there was a column that talked about how the writer felt there needs to be regulations regarding the appropriateness of online videos. This is my response to that column – I emailed it to the Alligator to hopefully be posted at a letter to the editor, but as you can see, it’s kind of long…

Continue reading On The Appropriateness of Internet Content

Colt Brennan vs. Tim Tebow

Or Why June Jones Should STFU

First, off, I want to say that Colt Brennan is a ridiculous quarterback. He is. His numbers are amazing, and he deserves the passing records he has set over the last few years. His skills will likely translate well to the pro level, and I will bet he has a good NFL career ahead of him. That said, I am sick of hearing people say that he is the best player in college football, and should win the Heisman.

Last week, Hawaii coach June Jones called out Tim Tebow, saying that he was “just a system quarterback” and that Tebow is the one who runs a “college system” while Brennan runs an”NFL style offense”. While it may be true that Hawaii’s offense does resemble more of an NFL style (passing) offense, and Florida’s spread is not something that would be run at the pro level, the question remains a big So What? The facts are June – this is, in fact, college. And I don’t think the ‘NFL system’ includes almost NEVER running the ball, either.

On the season, Hawaii’s top 2 rushers combined have a total of 94 carries. To compare that with some NFL teams, let’s look at a few examples. The New England Patriots, who are also currently undefeated, have also played 12 games. Through those 12 games, their top two rushers have combined for 203 carries. And New England is a pass-first offense. If we look at a more “traditional” NFL offense – the Pittsburgh Steelers – we see that the top two rushers combined for a total of 349 carries. So I don’t think we can call Hawaii’s offense an “NFL system”.

Continue reading Colt Brennan vs. Tim Tebow

New Photos!

Last weekend I went backpacking up in Georgia on the AT. We did about 21 miles, and the photos I took from the trip are now up in the photos section.

Projects Page (Hopefully) Fixed

Apparently, some people have been having issues finding my projects page, getting a 404 not found error when they try to access it from IE. I think I have fixed the issue – it appears that the newest IE does not default to a page named ‘index’ when given the URL of a folder, so I had to manually add the page to the link. If anyone still has problems, please send me an email so I can try to get it figured out ASAP.

Also, switch to Firefox – it is safer, faster, and since it actually meets W3C standards, it is significantly easier to design (better) web pages for.